In many cases, the tumor is built over the lining of the tube (squamous cell) while in some other, the cancerous cells may develop from the glandular cells (a place where cells of stomach and esophagus meet: adenocarcionoma). This cancer can be either benign or malignant in nature; is more commonly found in men as compared to women.
Esophageal Cancer Symptoms
The patients suffering from this condition often find it difficult to swallow food, a condition that is called dysphagia. Food, instead of getting down the esophagus, gets stuck within it; it may also be pushed back into mouth. Patient may not continue food intake for more than a few minutes; in severe cases, the ingestion of both solids as well as liquids can be quiet difficult.
As the per day calorie intake reduces, the patient starts loosing weight. To worsen the situation, there may be a constant burning sensation in fod pipe that gets aggravated every time the food is taken.
The cancer cells may also lead to conditions like nausea, vomiting, and coughing. Upon metastasis to the nearby organs such as bronchia, a person may develop aspiration pneumonia in which the air passages get blocked by the gastric contents. The formation of otherwise absent passages between esophagus and bronchus results in constant cough and fever.
Esophageal Cancer Prognosis
The prognosis of this cancer is usually quiet poor as, by the time some symptoms are manifested, tumor becomes big enough to be removed. Its metastasis to other organs like liver, kidney, heart, and lungs is often life threatening. If detected early (which, unfortunately, does not happen in most cases), the life expectancy can be increased appreciably.
Factors considered responsible for the disease
There are many risk factors that can be attributed to the tumor of esophagus:
Exposure to smoke and excessive alcohol consumption are known to worsen the condition. Tobacco inhaling is one of he major factors that can be directly related to the disease.
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Those who have the family history of this cancer are more prone to it as compared to others.
In this disease, the patient, in addition to swallowing difficulty, experiences pain, atrophic glossitis, and angular stomatitis.
Other Factors: Obesity, exposure to radiation, intake of nitrosamines in diet, and injury caused by the intake of hot drinks also make one susceptible to the esophageal cancer. Besides, another prominent factor that can trigger the disease is GERD ( Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease) which is characterized by the abnormal amounts of gastric juice being refluxed back into the esophagus.
Esophageal Cancer Diagnosis
The condition is diagnosed by a number of medicinal procedures like X-rays (after the intake of barium solution), biopsy, and endoscopy. The necessary procedures like CT scan, PET, and MRI may also be suggested to confirm the presence of tumor cells.
Esophageal Cancer Treatment
As with other cancers, this condition is also treated by traditional methods like chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation treatment. The collaborative efforts of other oncologists may also be required. These methods are not very beneficial and in order to prolong the life expectancy, patients may be referred to pathologists and gastroenterologists.
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